The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have named Peter Forsberg the 15th captain in team history, according to club General Manager Bob Clarke. In addition, Simon Gagne and Derian Hatcher have been named alternate captains.
"I think Peter is the obvious choice for our team," said Clarke in making the announcement. "Not only is he our best player, but he's also won a Stanley Cup. He's experienced enough to know what the game needs and what the team needs to be a winner. I don't think the selection of Peter was very hard for us to make. We felt all along that he was the right guy, and he'll be a good captain for us.
"He'll be the guy that ends up being the closest to the coach and his responsibility is to his teammates, making sure that if there are problems in the locker room they are taken care of before they get to the coach. If they can't, then he'll be the guy who talks to the coach about it. Leadership is how he conducts himself and performs during the games and during practice.
"It was mostly Hitch (Ken Hitchcock) and I (who made the decision). I know that Hitch talked to the assistant coaches and I talked to Paul (Holmgren). We've talked about it for quite awhile. Right from the start of the summer, we felt that once we heard that he had a chance to be healthy, he would be the guy."
"Clarkie and I both discussed the players and the feeling with all of us is that he is the person right now who wants the responsibility," said Flyers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. "I've talked to him, and he really feels like that (the captaincy) is part of the evolution of any player. He's learned from people like Joe Sakic and Adam Foote in particular, two of the best. He wants that responsibility. He wants to be the person who establishes the direction of the hockey club post-Keith Primeau. He knows that it's big shoes to fill and he knows the job that Keith did. He feels like he's got tremendous support from the players' leadership group who are his personal friends and are good teammates. He's very confident that with their support and with a willingness to learn, that he's going to be very successful.
"It wasn't an easy decision for me, but I needed to ask the question to Peter if he wanted the job. He thought about it and he said he wanted the responsibility."
"I'm definitely flattered and honored," said Forsberg. "It's definitely something that I have wanted to do. I've played a long time in this league and it's going to be great. We have a great team here and I'm looking forward to being the captain of this organization. It's a classy organization, so I feel great about it.
"It definitely will be a little more responsibility. With Keith Primeau, it was a tough situation and tough decision [with his retirement]. But, on the other hand, it was a tough situation last year. We never knew what was going to happen, and I think it's just good that we do get a captain. But, definitely, it's going to be more responsibility. We have a lot of young guys on the team and hopefully I can help them along.
"Since I came into the league at 20 years old, I had Joe [Sakic] as a captain in Quebec and in Colorado. He was great, and I think I learned a lot from him. I have been playing with a lot of great players and leaders, so hopefully I have learned a few things throughout the years."
Forsberg, 33, is in his second season with the Flyers. He recorded 19 goals and 56 assists for 75 points and 46 penalty minutes in 60 regular season games with the Flyers last season. He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on August 3, 2005.
Entering his 12th NHL season, Forsberg has registered 235 goals and 581 assists for 816 points and 590 penalty minutes in 640 regular season games with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche and the Flyers.
After the 2002-03 season, Forsberg won the Art Ross Trophy as "the player who leads the league in scoring points at the end of the regular season" (106 points) and the Hart Memorial Trophy as "the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team" and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team. A five-time NHL All-Star (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003), Forsberg has also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year (1995) and been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team (1995) and to the NHL First All-Star Team two additional times (1998 and 1999). Twice, he led the NHL in playoff scoring (24 points in 1999 and 27 points in 2002).
He was a member of both Avalanche Stanley Cup Championship teams (1996 and 2001) and has represented Sweden at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, 1996 World Cup of Hockey, 1998 World Championships, 1998 Winter Olympic Games, 2003 World Championships, 2004 World Cup of Hockey and 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
Forsberg was originally drafted by the Flyers in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. His rights were traded by the Flyers, along with Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, a first round pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, $15,000,000 and future considerations in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, to Quebec in exchange for the rights to Eric Lindros on June 30, 1992.